Calm Before the Storm

Here we go. The Holidays are upon us. I’ll be busy in the coming weeks wrapping up projects including the 2012 Mercury Racing Wall Calendars (shipments are set for next week), finalizing 2012 marketing plans and attending to other unfinished business.

Enjoying some time with work associates and friends in Key West. (L-R: Fred Kiekhaefer, Jeff Krueger, Larry Goldman, Gino Gargiulo, Erik Christiansen and me). Photo taken by our dear friend Marilyn DeMartini.

For me, the Holidays are the calm before the storm. I try to enjoy time with family and friends. One of my favorite parts of this time of year is catching up with dealers, boat builders, racers and consumers. I’m thankful for the many wonderful people I’ve met and become friends with over the years.

Kevin Skiba selling at the 2007 Los Angeles Boat Show. Photo credit: Bob Brown - Media Direction.

This is also my busiest and most stressful time of year. For over 20 years, the months of December and January are etched in my brain as “boat show prep time.”  The Miami Int’l Boat Show is our a largest show. It serves us well in terms of connecting with our customers from around the globe. The Los Angeles show enables us to connect with our West Coast customers.

I don’t know why the coming months are always so intense in my little world. I mean, The Miami Boat Show has taken place the same dates in February (give or take a week) for eternity. One would think planning and preparation would be second nature. The basics are down – it just seems no matter how hard we try – the coming months will be again be stressful, chaotic, fun, exciting and exhausting.

Fred Kiekhaefer unleashes the QC4v 1350 at the 2010 Miami Int'l Boat Show.

I suppose we bring a lot of the stress upon ourselves. I’m not sure if the NMMA keeps stats regarding this – but I have to believe Mercury Racing has the record for the greatest number of consecutive new product introductions in Miami Boat Show history. And so it is the job of the marketing guy – with the help from all sorts of creative people – to promote the brand and our products in Miami.

One of the first "raw" studio photos of the mighty M8 drive.

Prep includes everything from directing photo shoots, working with agencies in the creation and production of product literature and supporting Internet promotions, working with Mercury’s wonderful Exhibits department in the production of static product displays and working with our boat builder partners in providing Mercury Racing outboard and sterndrive powered demo boats for the in-water portion of the show (See Matt Trulio’s Speed on the Water blog post regarding one of the four boats we’ll demo at the Miami show). 

No big deal, right? We’ll – it shouldn’t be – but – nothing goes completely as planned.  It’s human nature to push things off – saying, “ahh – February is months away….I have plenty of time.”  The problem is everyone else prepping for the show has the same mind set.  It doesn’t help we live in Wisconsin – not the most tropical region of the world that time of year.  

Click on this imaqe to download a PDF copy of the all new Mercury Racing Power & Propulsion catalog.

This year – I feel at least somewhat prepared with discussions and some commitments already made for our Miami in-water boat displays. And, our all-new full line product catalog already made its public debut at the Key West Poker Run. However – in this fast paced business – the marketing is never done. What else is there? Will we continue our Miami tradition and unveil yet another new product?  I’ll defer to Fred’s response to questions regarding future products  “We’re always working on something.”

 I can tell you this – I’m going to enjoy the calm before the storm. Happy Holidays!

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